Pakistan’s one-Test wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider has lashed out at Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi for raising concerns about the state of cricket and the cricket board after announcing their retirements.
Haider, who returned to first-class cricket on the opening day of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy when he donned the wicket-keeping gloves for ZTBL, also admitted that a comeback in the national squad was very difficult, but stood by his decision to walk out of the team in UAE.
“To the world, I’m a fool but to me, I did the right thing,” Haider told ESPNCricinfo. “I was well aware I was risking my career but I opted to follow the righteous path. I am not like Afridi and Shoaib who, when done with their career, are now coming out busting the system. I was at the beginning of my career and I raised my voice against the odds, putting my career at risk without any fear.
“Afridi and Shoaib have earned a lot of respect and money through the system, and now when they see things are out of their hands, they have started lashing out at the entire structure and culture of Pakistan cricket. Why at the end of their career?”
Haider, who had his stipend contract cancelled by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after he flew off to London without informing the team management, expressed his willingness to return to the national squad.
“My passion for cricket is still alive and I am optimistic that I can put in performances that will catch the selectors’ eye. Playing for the country is always an honour and that desire never dies.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2011.